Maggie O’Farrell’s second novel, My Lover’s Lover, is a complex and interesting narrative. Part ghost story, part stalker story, part thriller and part love story—the narrative keeps the reader on his toes from start to finish. Just as you think you’ve got it figured out, something shifts and you’re left wondering—just as the characters are–whether you know what’s real and what’s not.
Important themes revolve around loss and redemption. Lily lost her brother in childhood and is forever haunted (not that she realizes it) by this loss and so remains stunted in her emotional and intellectual growth. She is fey and sees things that aren’t there—or are they? In the end, she is redeemed through her own growth—she leaves the man (and woman) who is haunting her behind and sets out on her own. What will become of her is hard to say, but that she remains an enigma to the end is easy to see.
Following these themes of loss and redemption, Sinead loses her lover (and her sense of self–which somehow remains behind haunting her old lover’s apartment) to other women and though she can never reclaim her old feelings she is redeemed in the arms of her new lover, Aidan (or is she? Or is the vision of them in the end merely another figment of Lily’s imagination?). Aidan subconsciously seeks to reclaim that feeling of twinness he and his sister had in the womb. He is truly seeking his other half and finds it in Sinead.
Told in the rotating POV’s (between three characters, from first to third and back again, between past and present), this novel is not for those who rely on a linear narrative to get them by. At times, the reader must keep a mental tally to understand just where he is in the story.
It’s a good, fast read. Enjoyable and intriguing. I look forward to reading more of O’Farrell’s work.